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July 2012

Basic Color Processing & Retouching For Cosplay Photography

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So, This One Time We Hiked To Lava…


Lava Kiss Print Available Here!

Wow. I’ve officially gone somewhat viral.

It all started with Alan Taylor of The Atlantic’s In Focus choosing my Lava Kiss photo out of the National Geographic Traveler photography contest to be the first image in the post about the competition. From there, PetaPixel picked it up, then Gizmodo, and from there it went on to the Huffington Post, Glamour, and even My Modern Metropolitan’s Facebook Page as the cover image.

The response to the photo has been overwhelmingly positive, though there have been the obligatory few dissenters. Most often that I’ve seen is that people believe it’s a Photoshopped image, despite having posted a Lightroom screenshot to Google+ back when the image was first posted and people accused me of compositing. So, here are some more images from that night, both taken with a point-and-shoot and my 5D Mark II, to give everyone a better idea of what was going on. Click each photo to see it bigger!

I’d like to note that we did not go alone, but with an authorized guide from Kalapana Cultural Tours. These guys watch the flows every day, and make the tour very safe, so I highly recommend their service! It is very dangerous to go out looking for lava if you are unfamiliar with the environment, plus it’s illegal as much of the flows cover what is still technically private property. Check out their blog here for nearly daily updates of their lava hikes, with photos!

We started out where the road ended, cut off by an older flow years before. It was about an 8-mile round-trip hike over some amazing pāhoehoe lava landscape, and the late-afternoon light was glorious.

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Beautiful Mistakes


Portrait of the Kiev 60 by my husband!

My Kiev 60, bought off of eBay and used to shoot 120 film, has a winding problem.  When it’s winding correctly, it has the power to take some pretty awesome images with a depth and feeling that I can’t reproduce with my current digital lineup.  I’ll be able to afford a Hasselblad (film or digital) someday, but for now, my quirky Soviet baby is good enough!

However, its winding problem has resulted in some interesting “beautiful mistakes”. I’m the kind of photographer that enjoys having little control over my shooting situation, but a lot of control over the final image produced through my processing, so the unpredictable nature of using my Kiev 60 has resulted in some unique images that could not have been planned that way. Here’s an overlap from my Kakaako PowWow project that made an interesting composition:

I just got my most recent roll of 120 back from the lab, and while I was pleased to find that I’d managed to get nearly all 12 exposures onto the roll accurately without overlap, I somehow ended up shooting more than 12 shots until there was no more film left, resulting in my favorite image from the roll:

Couldn’t have meant to do it if I tried, so it’s my favorite beautiful mistake thus far! However, film is expensive at $20+ for development and scanning, so I’m hoping to perform surgery on my Kiev soon now that I have some test paper to experiment with.  I’ll try to document that process when I get around to it.


Check out one of my favorite photographers, Oleg Oprisco, who also shoots with a Kiev!